Making Your Experience Count (for Service Users)

How to become involved in change using your own lived experience


Charlotte Walker and Anna Minogue

Course overview

This one day course is for anyone considering becoming a more involved service user. The course, facilitated by experts by profession and experience, explores the range of ways someone with lived experience of mental distress can influence change, including:

  • Lobbying politicians
  • Attending focus groups
  • Becoming a service user representative on formal bodies such as Trust Boards, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), steering groups
  • Expert patient programmes
  • Using social media
  • Participating in research
  • Completing surveys

Delegates will have the opportunity to explore their personal boundaries and select which elements of their personal experience they are comfortable in sharing, in order to decide which methods of influencing change would be most appropriate for them. There will be opportunities to practice assertiveness skills, including dealing with difficult questions and working with others’ assumptions about mental health service users.

Course Content

  • What opportunities are there for service users to have influence, and how can people access them?
  • Online opportunities (surveys, questionnaires, Twitter, Facebook, forums)
  • Formal opportunities (service user representation on committees, Trust Boards, Clinical Commissioning Groups)
  • The Expert Patient Programme
  • Lobbying of national politicians, both local and national
  • Getting involved in research studies
  • Your comfort zone: choosing the right opportunity for you
  • Your comfort zone: setting personal boundaries and selecting what information to share
  • Assertiveness skills (saying no nicely, dealing with difficult questions, challenging people effectively)

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